Paul Pierce gives Jrue Holiday his flowers for doing ‘everything better’ than Kyrie Irving

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce shared his thoughts on the guard matchup between Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday in the 2024 NBA Finals.

Pierce gave Holiday – a champion earlier in his NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks – props for outplaying Irving through the first two games of the series.

“Jrue Holiday is outplaying Kyrie,” Pierce said. “Who would have thought that coming into this? You know Jrue is a solid player, great defensively, but he’s outscoring him. He’s outrebounding him. He’s doing everything better than Kyrie.”

Holiday’s play has certainly been key for Boston, as it holds a 2-0 series lead on Dallas after winning on Sunday night in Game 2.

The veteran guard had 26 points (on 11-for-14 shooting), 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block for the Celtics in Game 2, picking up some major slack with Jayson Tatum struggling shooting the ball.

Tatum is just 12-for-38 from the field in the first two games of the NBA Finals, but Holiday has been a steadying presence for Boston on offense, which has made up for the star’s poor shooting.

As for Irving, Holiday has matched up on the star guard for a lot of the series. In 50 partial possessions, Holiday has held Irving to just six points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field and 0-for-2 shooting from beyond the arc, according to’s matchup data.

For the series, Irving is shooting just 13-for-37 overall (0-for-8 from 3-point range) and averaging just 14.0 points per game. Holiday is averaging 19.0 points per game while shooting 65.2 percent from the field.

There’s no doubt that Holiday has been the better player so far, and Pierce even seemed to admit that this wasn’t what was expected coming into the NBA Finals.

Irving played great in the Western Conference Finals, scoring 36 points in Dallas’ series-clinching win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he hasn’t found a rhythm on the offensive end in the Finals.

Boston is hoping that Holiday can help it close out this series now that it needs just two more wins.

The Celtics have yet to lose a game on the road in the playoffs – they are a perfect 6-0 – heading into Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Mavericks.

Game 3 is scheduled to tip off at 8:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, June 12.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.